The Duke and I by Julia Quinn
Series: Bridgertons #1
Genres: Historical Romance
Publication date: January 5, 2000
Publisher: Avon Books
Format: Paperback, 384 pages
How I got it: I bought it!
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Can there be any greater challenge to London’s Ambitious Mamas than an unmarried duke?
—Lady Whistledown’s Society Papers, April 1813
By all accounts, Simon Basset is on the verge of proposing to his best friend’s sister, the lovely—and almost-on-the-shelf—Daphne Bridgerton. But the two of them know the truth—it’s all an elaborate plan to keep Simon free from marriage-minded society mothers. And as for Daphne, surely she will attract some worthy suitors now that it seems a duke has declared her desirable.
But as Daphne waltzes across ballroom after ballroom with Simon, it’s hard to remember that their courtship is a complete sham. Maybe it’s his devilish smile, certainly it’s the way his eyes seem to burn every time he looks at her… but somehow Daphne is falling for the dashing duke… for real! And now she must do the impossible and convince the handsome rogue that their clever little scheme deserves a slight alteration, and that nothing makes quite as much sense as falling in love…
I absolutely fell in love with the Bridgertons and Simon right from the beginning of this book. I loved the “forbidden” romance between Daphne and Simon. I laughed out loud and swooned like crazy. I loved absolutely everything about it. I was ready to give it five stars and gush endlessly about my love for it. Then about 3/4 of the way through, this THING happens. And I got angry. Well, at first I was disappointed and then I got angry. It took me completely out of the book. It was unexpected (and not in a good way), unpleasant and totally unnecessary IMHO. It was a HUGE breach of trust between the characters and I really struggled to continue reading after that. I am glad I did because the character did learn from this mistake and it was a catalyst for a big change in their relationship. It all turned out alright in the end, but it’s still tough to let go of the thing. If not for that one scene, this book would absolutely be in my top ten all time historical romance reads. I hate to knock away a whole star because of one scene, but it was that big of a deal breaker for me.
So, that aside… this book was fantastic. It was one of the most well-written and engaging historical romances I’ve ever read. I love the Bridgerton family. Each of them was so full of life and so unique. I felt like I was part of their family. Simon is definitely one the swooniest men I’ve found in a book in a long time. He broke my heart in the beginning. I hated how his father abandoned him, but I loved how hard he worked to prove that awful man wrong. And the vulnerability he had a result? It made him real and caused me more feels than anything else in the book. Daphne was a perfect match for him, too. I loved her. She was sassy. I loved her banter with Simon. They were just plain wonderful together. The romance was real and I loved that they were friends first. It was so swoony that it pretty much left me with literal hearts in my eyes and a huge grin on my face.
I really can’t wait to read the rest of the Bridgertons series. I love wacky, interesting families in books and I’m excited we get a story for each of the kids. I’m torn between wanting to binge these right now and spread them out so they last longer.
It is recommended, however, that all safety-minded people stay far, far away from the latest crop of unmarried men when Bridgerton daughters E, F, and H come of age. Lady B is not likely to look both ways when she barrels across a ballroom with three daughters in tow, and the Lord help us all should she decide to don metal-toed boots.
And so kissing her became a matter of self-preservation. It was simple. If he did not kiss her now, if he did not consume her, he would die. It sounded melodramatic, but at the moment he would have sworn it to be true. The hand of desire twisting around his gut would burst into flame and take him along with it. He needed her that much.
Have you read any of Julia Quinn’s books?
Which is your favorite?
Leave your thoughts in the comments.